October 26, 2010

Adventures with the Kindle (Week Two)

On the flip side...

This post is all the things that annoy me about the Kindle. There aren't many, but there are a few.

1. It's in black and white. Okay, that's not something that annoys me, per se, but it's a limitation that I feel should be addressed. The Kindle is in black and white, so no one is going to see excellent illustrations or pretty covers. (I hear the iPad has pretty shocking color -- if that's something that matters to you, you might want to check that out.)

2. Lack of backlighting. I want to be able to read in the dark, people! Backlight! Backlight!... Okay, I should temper my call here, because after reading some reviews it's pretty easy to see that the designers made a calculated move here. Sure, you don't have backlighting. But you also don't have the added weight that a lighting feature would have added. All told, I don't need my Kindle to be backlit -- I just think it would have been kind of cool. So I'm okay with the Kindle not being backlit.

3. The Kindle store on the Kindle. I think it's cool that you can order books through the Kindle, but I wish the store layout were better. There's no real way to browse -- since the screen is so small, you pretty much have to know what you're looking for, and search for it directly. Which is fine when I know what I want. Bad when I'm just puttering around, which I usually am.

4. This one actually annoys me, and annoys me a lot. (In fact, it's pretty much my only big complaint that I have at this point.) The Kindle does not have a cover. For those thinking of getting a Kindle, I have to say it is imperative to have a good cover. I do not yet have a cover, and for the last two weeks have lived in fear of dropping my Kindle, smudging it, cracking it, whatever. In fact, I rarely take it with me places, and when I do, I actually put it back in the Amazon shipping container to avoid it banging around haphazardly in my enormous bag with the rest of my junk. Okay, read that again. I actually put it back in the shipping container. Because I am that scared of messing it up. So -- a cover is absolutely necessary if you actually want your Kindle to be functionally portable. I will be buying one shortly, as soon as I can decide which one I should get...

5. The audio voice. I don't do text-to-speech -- never have, even the actual audio books which are meant to be listened to. But this text-to-speech thing, while a nice idea, is just creepy. It's like there's a homicidal robot reading to you, with no understanding of pauses or paragraph breaks. While I understand this could be a useful feature, it definitely needs to go through some new iterations before it'll be functional and pleasant.

(The actual reading is going quite well. I approve. It's a good reading experience. Yay.)


  1. Oh gosh yes the text-to-audio is WAY too creepy. And I got the official black Kindle cover - sooo pretty. As for the backlight, I've also heard it was a calculated move to leave it out to make it easier on the eyes and the brain. It doesn't have the 'blue' light that tricks your brain into thinking it is day time and so it won't cause insomnia.

  2. I don't think they could back-light it with the e-ink. I recommend the lighted Kindle cover.

    As for ordering books, I browse on a computer and send samples to my Kindle. If I like the sample, I buy the book on my Kindle. I haven't tried the Kindle Store on my Kindle yet.

  3. Yeah, it was totally a calculated move, and one I approve of. I just kind of miss the cool under-the-covers-ness of it. Thanks for the cover suggestions!

    Browsing on the computer is definitely easier -- bigger screen, more options, etc. etc. In general I would not recommend browsing on the actual Kindle.

  4. I have the same annoyances. I really love my Kindle, but I feel like a little track lighting - that can be turned on and off, of course - along the edges of the screen would go a long way.

    Also - I wish it could do color. I love my pretty covers. :)

    I'm a browser as well. I wish I could see all my recommendations too.

    In general, though. I do <3 my Kindle. I'll bet in later versions these problems will be addressed. They may be working on it in a lab as we speak! ..er, type.

  5. Glad to know I'm not the only one!